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SDG 13 - Climate action

Taking countermeasures for a sustainable future

The international community agreed to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. That was five years ago – and much progress has been made during these five years. However, the efforts made to date will not be enough to achieve the two-degree target and reverse the trend. The coronavirus pandemic has the world preoccupied while climate change continues to progress. Climate change is one of the greatest challenges humanity is facing. The upcoming international United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow has been postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic. But that does not mean countries have to sit idly by until then.

We are currently only seeing relatively small impacts of climate change. If global warming gains momentum, the impact will be dramatic. We are already seeing changes in weather patterns all around the world: droughts, floods, heat waves. Developing countries suffer the most from these weather extremes although they have contributed the least to climate change. So the global community needs to take countermeasures quickly and decisively in every area of life.

In United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13, the global community agreed to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. On behalf of the German Federal Government, KfW is supporting its partner countries around the world as they reorganise their social and economic systems. KfW is aligning all of its promotional activities with the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

KfW Development Bank's commitments to climate- and environment-related projects are on a high level for many years. In 2020 they reached more than EUR 4.3 billion. This is estimated to generate annual savings of almost 8.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in the partner countries. Commitments from 2020 are directly supporting around 14 million people as they combat the impacts of climate change.

Measures for climate protection, climate change adaptation and climate resilience continue to be items at the top of KfW’s agenda despite coronavirus. Nevertheless, 2021 threatens to shift priorities in light of the pandemic. When the crisis has been overcome, however, the world should structure its recovery in climate-friendly ways. Economic targets and climate targets must no longer be allowed to conflict with each other; both must contribute to sustainable stability. In future, growth always needs to be green. All economic recovery measures should take aspects of climate neutrality, resilience and sustainability into account. Recover forward can help national economies position themselves to be future-oriented in line with the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.

KfW Climate brochure – KfW's commitment in climate protection at a glance  (PDF, 2 MB, accessible)

SDG 13 on the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) website (German only)

5 Years Paris Agreement – Where do we stand?

Copyright: KfW Group/Tuppeck-Gehlhar

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“Paris was the turning point”

Dr Karsten Sach has been leading the German negotiating delegation at international climate negotiations for over twenty years. Five years after the Paris Agreement was concluded, he takes stock in conversation with KfW Stories. He explains what has been achieved to date and why we now need change to happen faster.

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